Performance Motors Ltd (PML) “Escape the City 2017” brought back fond memories for me. It was to a less travelled Malaysian destination of Port Dickson. I’ve only been there as a child previously, on a road trip holiday with my parents, eons ago. This time, it was a déjà vu revisit with my own family.
The PML event was a first joint drive-and-ride outing. And an impressive turnout it was – with 36 2 Series Gran Tourers (2GT) and 18 BMW motorcycles. The BMW bikers took the winding secondary roads, whereas those in 2GTs with family on board took the horizon-stretching highway route.
From Singapore to Port Dickson is 314 kilometres, or about four-and-a-half hours drive time.
It was an eye-opener road trip adventure for junior. Never had he seen the vast expanse of undulating terrain and plantation estates on both sides of the highway, being the urbanite he is.
Avoiding the dreaded “Are we there yet?” syndrome, I put junior in charge of navigation and walkie-talkie communication with our convoy leader. Not that it was ever needed, since there was BMW’s ConnectedDrive navigation system guiding us all the way.
Meantime, mommy dearest was enjoying her forty winks on the backseat of the BMW.
Our first pit stop was in the little township of Layang-layang, Pekan Baru. There at Guang Fatt Wantan Mee, we experienced the springiest hand-made noodles and traditional yong tau foo soup on the side. It’s definitely old-school comfort food, and in my books well worth the detour.
Three hours later, we arrived at Port Dickson town for a sumptuous nine-course lunch at Kim’s Seafood Palace. This is a popular restaurant overlooking the Straits of Malacca, catering mainly to large banquets, wedding events, or our 200-strong entourage.
From there, it was a short 20 minutes’ drive south of the town to our hotel, the Lexis Hibiscus. It’s the largest hotel at Port Dickson and has two Guinness World Records – the most swimming pools in a resort (641), and the most overwater villas in a single resort (522).
Day 1 was capped off with a buffet-spread welcome dinner at the hotel, hosted by Mr Horst Herdtle, managing director of PML.
Day 2 was easy, with plenty of activities within the resort. There are water-based activities such jet-skiing, or banana-boat riding, and even helicopter rides for a bird’s-eye tour of the coastline and surroundings.
The missus was content with getting her gym workout and massage therapy at the Lex Spa, whereas junior and myself had our bonding time over archery, kayaking, and an adrenalin-rush bandwagon water-ride. You can also take a leisurely cycle or Segway around the complex. But take note: The sprawling resort has shuttle-buggies to bring you to your overwater villa, as the complex stretches 1.2 kilometres end-to-end.
Venturing out, there is an Ostrich Farm with a mini petting zoo, an army museum, and a couple of themed attractions. You won’t find any mega malls or theme parks at Port Dickson, though. Still, you can drive 18 kilometres to Port Dickson Waterfront for some small-town chill-time by the sea. And should you miss your familiar urban fix, the place has McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Kenny Rogers Roasters.
Back at the Lexis Hibiscus, all villas come with a balcony sauna and a mini pool. Panorama villas even have a bathroom standing tub with a sea view. Either way, it’s the perfect way to end the day – just soaking in the tub and watching the sunset over the emerald waters of the Straits.
All too soon it is Day 3, and time to bid adieu to Port Dickson. But not before a rousing song-and-dance farewell by the Lexis staff, and the customary group photo for the memory.
Our lunch stop at Kluang’s Tiong Hwa Restoran was another nine-course “Group Tour” feast. This time, there was a novel BMW-logoed starter dish.
The annex to the restaurant is an authentic Taiwan produce store. I can imagine it catering to busloads of tourists, and this is in Malaysia. Go figure?
We could easily make the round trip back to Singapore on a single tankful, with fuel to spare. But you may want to top-up with Euro 5 diesel at Gelang Patah, just to take advantage of the favourable pump prices across the Causeway.
In all, this was an “Escape The City” to a still laid-back Port Dickson. A 3D2N PML-organised getaway for some rustic chill and bonding time, made all the more relaxing in a BMW MPV with touring pace and grand touring space.